I woke up this morning thinking of my baby-girl, Alli. She’s your typical teenage girl. Hormones. Drama. Messy room. She has a love for clothes, shoes especially. Boys (well, we’re not going there yet).
The thought I actually woke up with this morning is this, “Alli is going to make an amazing prayer warrior.”
Alli has an amazing memory. Astounding, in fact. She says things all the time like, “Remember when I was three and you said we’d go to the mall that day? Well, we never went.”
It was her birthday about 3 weeks ago, and there are a couple people who usually send her a card that didn’t this year, and we still have this conversation every day after school:
Alli: Did the mail come?
Alli: Did I get any cards?
Three weeks later. She has an eager expectation that more cards will come in the mail. And she asks about it every day. She’s tenacious.
Don’t say it if you don’t really mean it with Alli. If you don’t plan on following through, you just better not say it, or she won’t leave you alone until you do it.
Then I remembered this story in the Bible, and I thought of Alli for sure:
Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. (Luke 11:5-8)
Who does that? Who goes to a friend’s house at midnight and knocks on the door asking to borrow some bread? Ummm….rude!
But I totally imagine Alli doing this. She’d walk right up to that door, knock on it, and say, “Hey neighbor. Remember that time you said, ‘If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask. I mean it. Day or night – you can count on me. Anything at all?’ So, here I am. I need some bread. Hand it over.”
And if you said no, trust me when I say, she would keep knocking and knocking and wake up the baby and the dog until you do it, and she wouldn’t care one little bit. You said it, after all.
This story is really about prayer. It’s Jesus teaching His disciples how to pray. And I love verse 9:
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
There are two things we need to do when it comes to prayer. Don’t let go, and let go!
Don’t let go. We need to hold on to the promises of God like Alli does to a promise to go to the mall. Too many people let it go too soon. We get frustrated and discouraged by what we see (or what we don’t see) or by how long it’s taking. We get tired and weary of standing. Of praying. Of waiting. And we just let go of the promise and faith is never made sight.
Don’t let go. Hold on to it. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.
But we also need to let go. We need to let go of our preconceived ideas of what the answer should look like or how long it should take. He knows what He’s doing. And He wouldn’t have used this story to illustrate prayer if He didn’t think we’d need to know it. If He didn’t know sometimes we would have to contend for our answer.
We all need to be like Alli. We need to remember what God promised and hold on to it. With eager expectation, we need to “check the mail” every day, tenaciously asking Him, “Did it come yet?” And don’t stop until faith is made sight.
Don’t let go. He is faithful.
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 11:35-36)